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Sometimes we rein persistent in things we have no talent for. Having plunged into it with both hands and feet we think we'll finally mount into a superstar! And when we don't, the situation becomes sore and discomforting. Many of us have gone through this before we find a field that clicks, that allows our talent and potential to materialise. Till then the ride is rough, bumpy and unpleasant. For personal growth and utility value, you must find where your capabilities lie and what your limitations are.


Once the martial artist, Bruce Lee, was having breakfast with one of his students. The student, in his mid-forties, was down-hearted after an unsatisfying practice performance. He felt he was too old and his body too stiff to achieve any real ability in jeet-kune-do.

"You will never learn anything new unless you are ready to accept yourself with your limitations, "Bruce answered. "You must accept the fact that you are capable in some directions and limited in others, and you must develop your capabilities."

The student argued that ten years before he could easily kick over his head.

Bruce smiled. "That was ten years ago,"he said gently. "You are older today and your body has changed. Everyone has physical limitations to overcome."

The student replied that he (Bruce) was born with the natural ability of a martial artist.

Bruce laughed. "I'am going to tell you something very few people know. I became a martial artist in spite of my limitations. My right leg is almost an inch shorter than my left. That fact dictated the best stance for me - my left foot leading. Then I found that because the right leg was shorter, I had an advantage with certain kicks.

"And I wear contact lenses. Since childhood I have been near-sighted, which meant that when I wasn't wearing glasses, I had difficulty seeing an opponent when he wasn't up close. I initially studied 'wing-chun' because it is an ideal technique for close-in fighting.

"I accepted my limitations and made the best of what I had. And that's what you must learn to do. Perfect your kicks at waist level and they will be so formidable you'll never need to kick higher.

"Instead of trying to do everything well, do those things perfectly of which you are capable. What you lack in flexibility and agility (through age) you must make up with knowledge and constant practice."

Firstly, draw a line between the things you can and cannot do. Then focus your efforts on developing the things you are capable of doing. As you grow in skill and talent your limitations will shrink in prominence.

If you are a college student and you have a bad memory, don't beat your brow. Accept the fact and put more effort into it.

Edison had a very poor memory - especially in his youth. In school he forgot everything he was taught, and he was always at the bottom of his class. He drove his teachers to despair. They declared he was retarded. He attended school for only three months, after that his mother taught him at home. Later in life Edison developed a remarkable memory for scientific data.

A little effort and proper guidance can draw you away from the frustration of your inabilities or oddities. We all have some talent in one thing or another. Finding what it is and developing it will definitely go to increasing a positive image of yourself.

Socrates was ugly yet his wisdom more than compensated for his physical image.

Charles Steinmetz was born with a crooked leg and arched backbone that gave him a grotesque hump. During his childhood, children shunned him because of his clumsy body and inability to participate successfully in many activities. Using the greatest asset blessed upon him, Charles ignored his physical disabilities about which he felt he could do nothing and worked to excel his mind. At five he could conjugate Latin verbs. At seven he learned Greek and a little Hebrew. At eight he had a good understanding of algebra and geometry. When he went to college, he excelled in all his studies. He graduated with honors. He had saved money so he could rent a dress suit for the convocation. But the college authorities posted a notice on the bulletin board excusing Charles from the ceremony.

Later, he went to America. Several companies denied him a job because of his awkward appearance. Eventually, General Electric employed him as a draftsman for $12 a week. There, in addition to his regular duties, he spent long hours in electrical research. After some time the Chairman of the board of General Electric Company recognised his rare genius. He said, "Here is our entire plant. Do anything you want with it. Dream all day, if you wish. We'll pay you for dreaming."

Charles worked long hours. During his lifetime he patented more than 200 electrical inventions and wrote many books and pages on problems of electrical theory and engineering.

Developing one's mind overshadows one's physical frailties. The luster of knowledge leaves a dazzling impression upon those who come to hear you.

Stephen Hawking, 46, is one of the World's greatest theoretical physicists. He is a Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, a seat once occupied by Isaac Newton. Since his early 20s, he has suffered form Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive deterioration of the central nervous system that usually causes death within three to four years. Hawking's illness has advanced more slowly, and now seems almost to have stabilised. Still, it has robbed him of virtually all movement. He has no control over most of his muscles, cannot dress or eat by himself and needs round-the-clock nursing care. In 1985 Hawking nearly suffocated during a bout of pneumonia. He was given a tracheotomy that enabled him to breathe through an opening in his throat and a tube inserted into his trachea. The operations saved his life but silenced his voice. Now he "speaks" only by using the slight voluntary movement left in his hands and fingers to operate his wheelchair's built-in-computer and voice synthesizer.

While ALS has made Hawking a virtual prisoner in his own body, his intellect roams freely from the infinitesimal to the finite, from the subatomic realm to the far reaches of the universe. In the course of these mental expeditions, Hawking has conceived startling new theories about black holes and the tumultuous events that immediately followed the Big Bang from which the universe sprung. Through his prolific intelligence he has won the admiration and respect of students, professors and residents of Cambridge.

He says, "One of my friends bet a bag of sweets that that I would never come to anything."

Kip Thorne, a Caltech physicist, says, "I would rank him besides Einstein, as the best in our field."

Rocky Kolb, a physicist at Fermilab in Illinois says, "In general relativity and early cosmology, Hawking is the hero."

Developing one's better capabilities eclipses one's shortcomings. In spite of a poor or medium academic record, excelling in a sport or whatever can put you in the spotlight to public admiration. The same applies if you are poor in sports but intelligent in academic matters. By developing your advantages you soar to success and shadow your incapabilities or shortcomings.

But when one enters into the subject of spiritualism one finds an enlightened soul supercedes all. Having realized one's soul and God one transcends all limitations and discrepancies. One's joy becomes limitless. In fact one becomes a dispenser of joy to others. King Janak initially ridiculed the ugly and clumsy Sage Ashtavakra (an enlightened soul mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagwatam), but later revered him for his profound spirituality. Where the intelligent sages had failed, Ashtavakra succeeded in satisfactorily answering the king's queries.

In the time of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, a devotee called Nath Bhakta was physically frail and poor. He could barely count to ten and yet Swaminarayan stamped him as intelligent compared to the Minister (diwan) in the court of Baroda who brilliantly ruled three large states for his master. In Vachanamritam Gadhada Sec.I.No.50 Bhagwan Swaminarayan says, "Intelligent are those who, in spite of having little mental intelligence, are engaged in seeking their salvation. And those proficient in worldly matters or in scriptural learning are feebleminded if they don't endeavor for personal redemption."

On the surface this may seem unacceptable. But the man striving for personal redemption is in fact endeavoring for eternal happiness where as the efforts of the worldly intelligent are directed towards temporary happiness. From the two different rewards - one temporary and the other eternal - one can easily deduce the intelligent out of the two.

Essentially, the martial arts concentrate on attaining enlightenment or self-realization rather than mere physical excellence. A true sifu (master) sees Karate, kung-fu, aikido,... as avenues to spiritual serenity and mental tranquility.

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